Orbital Sciences scrubbed its Antares rocket launch last week when an Ethernet cable became dislodged, cutting off communications with the flight computer. The launch was scrubbed 12 minutes before scheduled liftoff.
Wired reports that there was not enough slack in the cable, and a slight, unplanned hydraulic movement of the transport erector launcher that supports the rocket cause it to pop out. On their own, neither would have caused the failure, according to Orbital’s Frank Culbertson, but the combination caused the “anomaly.”
The launch crew defueled the rocket and began planning for a new launch window.
If ever we were looking at cabling as being mission-critical, this has got to be a case. A half-inch of slack in the cable, and months of work and hundreds of millions of dollars spent wouldn’t have ground to a halt.
“The Antares team spent about four hours Wednesday night defueling the rocket and replacing components that must be replaced after any scrubbed launch. They also are examining the ethernet cable and connector to determine what caused the premature detachment,” and looking for a new launch window, writes Jason Paur.
Read the full story on Wired.